Science Reading Skills

Charateristics of Readers

From The Sourcebook for Teaching Science, Chapter 2

Techniques for improving reading: This book introduces a variety of strategies for improving science literacy by improving science reading comprehension. Many of these strategies are found in other chapters. The following is a summary of these techniques:

Cornell notes (3.1): Cornell notes are commonly used in lectures, but can also be helpful for understanding and remembering the structure and content of written material. Students must take notes (brief phrases, words and diagrams) and identify cues (key words or questions) from the reading. They then cover their notes and use the cues to quiz themselves and see what they have remembered. Eventually they summarize the key point(s).

Advanced organizers (8.1): Students pre-read the science text to understand its structure and the scope of its content. By consciously analyzing and recording the author’s outline and advance organizers, students are better prepared to understand the text when they read it.

Mind (semantic) maps (9.4): Mind mapping is a brainstorming technique in which a radial “map” is developed showing the relationship of a central idea to supporting facts and concepts. Mind maps can be used to review and discuss the central theme of a chapter.

Concept maps (9.5): Students can develop a concept map for the theme of a chapter or section. This technique requires a good understanding of the material and can be used as a post-reading activity to develop comprehension.

KWL (8.0): Students discuss what they Know and what they Want to know prior to reading, and what they have Learned after reading a passage. This approach is used to develop reading goals so students can read with a purpose.

SQ3R (8.0): SQ3R is the acronym for a technique known as Survey, Question, Read, Recite, Review. SQ3R is a structured approach that focuses on comprehension.

Root words (1.1-1.4 ): Students learn how to construct and decipher scientific words by understanding the meanings of roots, prefixes and suffixes common to biology, chemistry, physics, and the earth and space sciences.

Cloze (2.1): Cloze activities (providing closure to passages with missing words) are used to assess the readability of a passage. The higher the cloze scores for a given population, the more readable the passage. In this chapter we introduce cloze as a technique for developing and assessing reading comprehension. (see results)

Jigsaw (2.2): Jigsaw is a technique whereby students develop reading skills by dialoging with others, preparing notes, and teaching their peers.

Cognates (2.3-4): Cognates are words in different languages that have the same linguistic roots. Once students recognize the similarities between English and their native language they will be better prepared to figure out the meanings of unfamiliar words.